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Proud to be on my bike
My name is Tim and I am a cyclist.
For the last six years I have been guilty of jumping into a saddle and using two wheels to get around town.
It has been a tough journey – plenty of ups, even more downs. But I like to think I have come out the other side of my addiction and am now truly coming to my senses that I do not belong on the road.
According to my peers, I should abandon the bike for the bus, car or my own two feet – after all, that is what everyone else does.
So let’s get the record straight: I have cycled on a pavement.
I have cycled through red lights.
I have cycled the wrong way down a one-way street. And, much to my grandma’s disgust, I also do not have a helmet that fits me.
For all of the above I do deserve a torrent of abuse.
All those times I have had to navigate around vehicles parked in cycle lanes – my fault.
All those times I have dared to ring my bell at people walking in front of me on the seafront cycle lane – my fault.
All those times I have nearly hit pedestrians jumping out onto the road in front of me – my fault.
Because let’s be honest here, there’s only one group responsible for traffic chaos and congestion and that is those people who are on two wheels.
So for that reason, next time you as a motorist do not check your wing mirrors when you get out of your car, continue to scream abuse at the person you nearly knocked off their bike.
The same has to be said for the lorry drivers who beep their horns as I try to get up to speed after stopping at traffic lights.
And those buses which squeeze cyclists onto the pavement or into sudden braking – continue sticking your thumb out of the window.
And pedestrians who prefer to stroll on the different coloured pavement with a big bike sign in the middle of it – continue to tut as I breeze on by.
If it wasn’t for fear of not being able to brake in time if a pedestrian ran out in front of me, I would put my hands up in an open sign of honesty.
Instead you will have to accept this confession. But don’t mistake it for an apology.
I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished on two wheels: the amazing sights, the fresh air, the smugness of knowing how long it will take to get somewhere. That’s not forgetting the fact it’s actually good for me.
Oh, and the free parking.
Our streets are made for sharing and you had all better get used to it. Bikes are just as important as cars, white vans, lorries, buses and pedestrians – we are not second-class citizens.
In fact, we are slightly better than you as at at least we admit to our mistakes.
And that is why I am proud to say: my name is Tim and I am a cyclist.